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'I saw him run my sister to the ground': Driver flees after hitting woman

Vanessa.jpg
Vanessa Karambela (Facebook photo, used with permission from family)

Portland police say a driver hit a woman crossing the street Thursday morning following an argument, and then fled the scene.

Vanessa Karambelas was bringing back doughnuts from Bison Coffeehouse, a place family says she visits daily, off NE Cully Boulevard just before 9 a.m.

Witnesses say the driver of a maroon minivan was speeding northbound on Cully Boulevard and came to a sudden stop, narrowly avoiding hitting Karambelas. She then hit the hood of the minivan, upset over nearly being hit by the driver.

Vanessa's brother Jason witnessed the entire thing.

"I saw him hit the gas pedal, run my sister over on the ground and ran her over, stopped and then proceeded to run her over with the back tires," Jason Karambelas said. "I saw blood and knelt down next to her and she looked up to me and she goes, 'What's going on?'"

He carried her body to their home. He says a retired paramedic was nearby and checked on Vanessa's vitals while they waited for first responders.

Vanessa was taken to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital. She's expected to survive the crash but has severe injuries. Family says she suffered a concussion, and broke her pelvis and several ribs.

After the crash, witnesses say the driver then drove east on NE Shaver Street before turning south and eventually getting on NE Fremont Street.

Jason said the minivan didn't have any license plates on it and had no other distinctive features. He said the minivan looked like it was made after 2010.